Regulatory Developments, Special Topics in Environmental Management

More HFC Restrictions in SNAP Proposal

Consistent with President Obama’s June 2013 Climate Action Plan, the EPA is using its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) to propose restrictions on the end uses of certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), approve new alternatives to substances with high global warming potential (GWP), and change the status of other substances already on the SNAP list.

HFCs are mainly used in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, as propellants in industrial aerosols, for foam blowing and solvent cleaning, and in fire extinguishers.

HFCs are also extraordinarily potent greenhouse gases (GHGs), estimated to be 10,000 times more effective than carbon dioxide (CO2) at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. The Agency notes that in the United States, the use of HFCs is increasing faster than any other GHG, and globally, the annual rate of increase is 10 percent to 15 percent. The EPA says the proposed changes to the SNAP listings will avoid the equivalent of 11 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2030.

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